Analysis of the demand for language skills

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This report surveys the demand for language skills other than Danish in the Danish labour market. The demand for language skills has been surveyed by analysing all online job postings in Denmark during the period 2007-2015. This is the first time that systematic and data-driven analyses of the demand for language skills in Denmark have been conducted. The survey was conducted for the Danish Agency for Higher Education.

Main results

The survey finds that in 2015 foreign languages were in demand in approx. 25,000 job postings, which were written in Danish. This corresponds to well over every tenth job posting. In addition, almost 38,000 job postings were written in a language other than Danish, which corresponds to 16% of all job postings. Relatively speaking, the demand for foreign language skills has increased in recent years. For example, the proportion of job postings written in Danish, where foreign languages are in demand, has increased from approx. 7% in 2007 to just under 11% in 2015.

The main features of the demand for language skills are:

  • English is by far the language most in demand and was requested for in approx. 22,000 job postings, corresponding to 87% of all the job postings that demand foreign language skills. Then comes German, which was mentioned in approx. 3,500 job postings.
  • Nordic languages other than Danish were in demand in almost 1,500 job postings. In a large portion of these job postings, “Scandinavian” or “Nordic” languages are demanded rather than a specific language.
  • In addition to job postings that request language skills and job postings written in languages other than Danish, the companies also demand employees with specific language training (language specialists). In 2015, more than 750 language specialists were in demand via job postings.

The main features of the industries that demand language skills are:

  • The demand for language skills is high within industrial production. Especially in the manufacture of electronic equipment and the mechanical, textile and electronics industries, the demand is high.
  • In the service industries, the demand for language skills is high within research and development and consulting.
  • In the public sector, it is primarily within the field of teaching that requires language skills other than Danish. The job postings typically concern positions in elementary schools and higher education institutions.

In addition, the analysis finds that the private sector accounts for the majority of job postings that demand language skills. In 2015, 73% of the job posting, where language skills were required, were from the private sector.


Højbjerre Brauer Schultz (2016): "Analyse af efterspørgslen efter sproglige kompetencer".